FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Since its inception in the 1970s, the UNESCO World Heritage Convention has officially recognized 1,052 sites of cultural or ecological importance around the planet.Making the list as a World Heritage site can help provide a location with increased protection and attention.The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an advisor to the World Heritage Committee, released a study showing that 1.8 percent of wilderness areas are covered under World Heritage protection.The IUCN recommends a more methodical approach to the designation of World Heritage sites to help fill these gaps. The 41st session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) is convening this week and next in Krakow, Poland, drawing participants from 21 member states, 170 observer nations and a multitude of NGOs. The July 2-12 conference aims to assess how conservation is faring at 154 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and consider the inclusion of 33 nominated sites.Since its inception in the 1970s, the UNESCO World Heritage Convention has officially recognized 1,052 sites of cultural or ecological importance around the planet. They include diverse locations, from the Sundarbans mangroves that straddle India and Bangladesh to the Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam in Afghanistan to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves.Making the list as a World Heritage site can help provide a location with increased protection and attention. For instance, data from the University of Maryland show areas included in the Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves site experienced far less tree cover loss than land outside its bounds. Potential environmental threats to the Sundarbans from an upstream power plant currently under construction resulted in a visit by a UNESCO mission and a report urging the plant be relocated to a less ecologically sensitive area (however, this recommendation has not been heeded and plant construction is continuing).The Atlantic Forest once ringed much of Brazil’s coastline, but most of it has been cleared. Scientists estimate as little as 3.5 percent of the biome’s old-growth forest may remain today. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / MongabayThe potential environmental protection benefits of attaining World Heritage status is prompting the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to advocate for a big increase in UNESCO attention to more wilderness areas. The IUCN is an official advisor to UNESCO’s WHC, and conducts independent monitoring of World Heritage sites. In step with the conference, the IUCN released a study on how the World Heritage Convention can more effectively conserve remaining wilderness areas.The study describes the fast pace at which wilderness areas are disappearing, and how the Convention’s success at combining conservation with social equity and biological integrity is helping safeguard remaining wilderness areas and the ecological and human communities that depend on them.But while the authors laud what the Convention has done so far, they found that many important wilderness areas are currently excluded from UNESCO coverage. According to their study, 1.8 percent of the world’s total wilderness area has World Heritage protection. Of this, they write that two biomes – tropical and subtropical coniferous forests, and temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands – have particularly low levels of protection, with less than 1 percent designated as World Heritage sites. Five other biomes are close behind, with less than 2 percent under UNESCO protection.Terrestrial wilderness as of 2009 and extent of World Heritage sites. From Kormos et al, 2017.In their study, the authors write that a more methodical approach to the designation of World Heritage sites could help fill these gaps. They provide two overarching recommendations for the WHC: assess existing sites to see if they’re large or connected enough to maintain integrity into the future, and invest in new sites to fill gaps in wilderness coverage.Mongabay caught up with study co-author Cyril Kormos, IUCN-WCPA Vice Chair for World Heritage and Vice President for Policy at the WILD Foundation, to ask him a few questions about how the World Heritage Convention could help improve wilderness conservation.How does wilderness protection fit into World Heritage? Kormos: The World Heritage Convention has always played a big role in helping to protect large, ecologically intact and iconic areas around the world, both on land and on sea. For example, the Kluane / Wrangell-St Elias / Glacier Bay / Tatshenshini-Alsek World Heritage site, a protected area complex shared by the United States and Canada, is almost 10m [million] hectares. Both the Central Amazon Conservation Complex and the Selous Game Reserve are over 5m hectares. Several marine sites are even bigger: for example, the Great Barrier Reef is almost 35m hectares and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area World Heritage site is about 41m hectares.Although there are only 238 natural and mixed World Heritage sites (the latter being recognized for both natural and cultural values) inscribed on the World Heritage List, this represents roughly 8% of the global protected areas estate and an area about the size of India (286m hectares). So the World Heritage Convention makes a very important contribution to wilderness conservation globally. But the World Heritage Convention could do even more by adopting an explicit and systematic wilderness and large landscapes and seascapes focus, and this new IUCN study explains how it could do so.How would extending the World Heritage Convention benefit wilderness and remaining intact areas?Kormos: Natural World Heritage sites are recognized by the international community as the planet’s most precious areas – places of importance to everyone and which we must all work collectively to safeguard for future generations. The World Heritage Convention provides an important added layer of international protection. The Convention emphasizes the importance of the good protection and management of World Heritage sites, and includes provisions for monitoring and reporting by governments, IUCN and UNESCO. World Heritage status is also highly prestigious, raising the profile of a particular site and greatly enhancing awareness of its unique values. As a result of this increased prestige and awareness, it is often easier to raise funds for research and management of these sites and World Heritage status also helps drive tourism.Which regions are most in need of this protection?Kormos: This new report identifies some broad gaps in World Heritage coverage which may have potential for new World Heritage sites – from Amazonia to Central Asia to Southern Africa. But beyond this very broad scale gap analysis, there is potential for creating new large World Heritage sites with strong wilderness values around the world.Another crucial part of a strategy on World Heritage, wilderness and large landscapes and seascapes is also to expand existing World Heritage sites, and ensure they are adequately buffered and connected to other protected areas. So this is not just about [establishing] new sites – it’s also about enhancing wilderness values in existing sites and taking action to ensure they can be protected into the future.What about land occupied by Indigenous Peoples and local communities? What effects would expansion of the Convention have on them? Kormos: World Heritage nominations (proposals by governments to inscribe sites on the World Heritage List) and management of World Heritage sites must always fully respect the rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples. In addition, World Heritage status and the commitment governments make to manage World Heritage sites to the highest international standards can also serve to recognize community and indigenous rights and can also help ensure community participation in the stewardship and governance of World Heritage sites.Many of the planet’s remaining large, intact landscapes and seascapes are the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples and have remained in good condition precisely because of stewardship by indigenous cultures over centuries or millennia. Most indigenous cultures see no distinction between nature and culture and it is therefore more appropriate to understand these landscapes as biocultural landscapes. So a crucial goal is to make certain that a focus on wilderness and large landscapes and seascapes helps recognize rights and strengthens participation in management.Where would the financing for this increased protection come from? Kormos: Unfortunately, the Convention itself does not have significant funding it can provide for management of World Heritage sites. However, World Heritage sites often receive additional resources, partly because of the requirements of the Convention that they be well-managed, and partly because they are of such importance to national governments – as a source of pride and as centers for tourism.Their unique values also attract research funding as well as international funding from bilateral donors and multilateral donors and from NGOs. Many World Heritage sites need additional funding – but World Heritage status can provide a significant boost in fundraising efforts.See https://www.iucn.org/theme/world-heritage for the IUCN’s recommendations to the World Heritage meeting currently being held in Krakow. Community-based Conservation, conservation players, Environment, Forest Loss, Grasslands, Habitat, Habitat Loss, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Reserves, Interviews, Iucn, Primary Forests, Protected Areas, Rainforests, Savannas, Temperate Forests, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Wildlife, World Heritage Convention Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Citations:Banner image of Sundarbans mangrove forest by user Bhushanfromindiasunderbanswidlife via Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0)Cyril F. Kormos, Tim Badman, Tilman Jaeger, Bastian Bertzky, Remco van Merm, Elena Osipova, Yichuan Shi, Peter Bille Larsen (2017). World Heritage, Wilderness and Large Landscapes and Seascapes. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. viii + 70pp. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored
Microsoft is joining the container game with a new solution that aims to bring container apps to the cloud. The company announced the Azure Container Service is now generally available. Azure Container Service is a container scheduling and orchestration solution that is built from open-source software.“But why a container service? Lately it seems like you can’t have a discussion about cloud computing without also talking about the benefit of container ecosystems for development agility and portability,” wrote Ross Gardler, senior program manager for Azure, in a blog post. “Organizations are already experimenting with container technology in an effort to understand what they mean for applications in the cloud and on-premises, and how to best use them for their specific development and IT operations scenarios.”(Related: Docker for Mac and Windows enters beta)The Azure Container Service builds on the company’s partnerships with Docker and Mesosphere, allowing users to work in the orchestration engine of their choice. Combined with Mesosphere’s Datacenter Operating System users have access to constraints definitions, service discovery and load balancing, health checks, metrics, event subscription, application groups and dependencies, the ability to roll upgrades with zero downtime, a simple UI, and a full-featured REST API, according to Microsoft.With Azure Container Service’s version of Docker Swarm, users have access to a full-featured CLI, third-party tools, the Docker Remote API, self-contained application definitions, the ability to operate at scale, discovery services, and constraints-based deployment, according to Microsoft.In addition, the container service features the ability to create a hosting solution for containers, manage containers with familiar tools, work with popular open-source tools, and the portability needed to migrate to and from Azure.“We built Azure Container Service to be the fastest way to get the benefits of running containerized applications, using your choice of open-source technology, tools and skills and with the support of a thriving community and ecosystem,” Gardler said.